[This story contains spoilers for South Park: Post COVID: The Return of COVID.]
Some South Park fans are having a hard time with where a central character ended up at the conclusion of the recent made-for-TV film South Park: Post COVID: The Return of COVID.
Premiering on Paramount+ on Thursday, the hourlong second half of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s first movie made exclusively for the ViacomCBS-owned streaming service left viewers with a more optimistic feeling about the future overall. The first half, South Park: Post COVID, which dropped on Thanksgiving, painted a bleak picture of a never-ending pandemic.
But, in the end, it all seemed to work out for everyone in South Park: Post COVID: The Return of COVID — except for one character: Cartman. And under normal circumstances, Cartman having a horrible future as a lonely, angry, drunk homeless person would be satisfying. He’s a horrible kid — just ask Scott Tenorman.
But Parker and Stone did a fantastic job of making the audience care for Cartman in the first half of the film. In the initial depressing future, Cartman has become a rabbi with a loving wife and three children — much to Kyle’s annoyance, as he believes it is a ruse to antagonize him. The audience is also waiting for Cartman to break character and say it was a long con purely for Kyle’s vexation. But in South Park: Post COVID: The Return of COVID, viewers learn that Cartman truly does love his family and legitimately became a man of faith.
Hence, Cartman tries to stop Stan and Kyle from going back in time, as he believes that if the guys successfully change the future to make the pandemic situation better, there is a chance his current, fulfilling life may never exist. But his wife convinces him to help his old pals, saying they will find each other in the new reality because they love each other so much. He agrees.
Spoiler: They don’t. And South Park: Post COVID: The Return of COVID ends with Kyle and Stan feeling somewhat bad for the homeless Cartman — but not nearly as bad as some fans, who found the moment quite gutting and shared their surprising bewilderment via social media. A lion’s share of those messages said essentially the same thing: “I can’t believe I actually feel bad for Cartman.”